We headed west from San Antonio after spending the better part of three days exploring that great city. Departing early Wednesday, February 15th, we said our goodbyes to the hotel’s parking lot kittens, gassed up and got out on the road.
Trying to continue staying off Interstates, we decided to head west along old US Route 90. Starting out from San Antonio, US90 is a four-lane highway, divided in places, but is not access-restricted as are Interstate highways. It soon reduces to a two-lane road, with one heading west and the other, east.
However, in Texas that doesn’t mean they’re slow roads. US90W posted a speed limit of 75MPH in most places. While the road was in very good shape, I thought it was too fast. So, I was passed a lot.
It was shaping up as a perfect day for the long drive to the western part of Texas. Clear and sunny, and the temps would reach the 80s before the day was done. We stopped in Uvalde for provisions before passing through Brackettville on our way to Del Rio, where US90 stopped heading due west, and turned to the northwest.
Del Rio is the last stop before the US-Mexico border.
It’s also the home of Laughlin Air Force base, and as we approached the outskirts of the city there were about a dozen aircraft circling the runways performing touch-and-go landings. Most were propeller-driven craft, but there were a couple jets in the pattern. I think they may have been T-38 trainers. Based upon what we saw, I’d assume Laughlin is a training base?
We pulled over to watch the planes for a moment, and saw this procession of goats traveling along a fence line across the road.
Entering Del Rio, we made the right turn on to the main drag. The traffic was heavy as we exited the city. It was obvious that Del Rio is the major city in this part of Texas. All the stores, restaurants, hotels and businesses you’d expect to see in a service center were there.
Not long after clearing Del Rio, we came upon the Amistad National Recreation Area. This Federal preserve is centered upon a reservoir of the same name that was created by damming the confluence of the Rio Grande and Devil’s River. At least, that’s how I read the map. The reservoir is huge, and spans both Mexico and US territory.
We spotted a good-looking picnic area from US90, and proceeded there to take a break from the road and have some lunch. It was now the warmest day we’d yet seen on the trip, and there was a strong wind blowing from the south. Here we were about a mile from the border. Here’s a panorama shot showing US90 on the left, and the picnic area on the right, with part of the reservoir in between.
After enjoying the sun and fighting the wind for our lunch, it was back aboard the Transcontinental Jeep to continue along the Rio Grande. Since leaving Del Rio the traffic was light. Just before reaching Comstock, we encountered our first of several US Border Patrol Checkpoints during the trip.
The encounter with the Border Patrol Agent was brief. He asked us if we were US citizens, we said “yes”, and that was that. We continued on our way.
The road rolled on, and the next place we decided to stop at was the US90 crossing of the Pecos River.
It seems that this used to be some kind of a park or recreation area, as there were stairs and paths leading down to the river from the bridge. But, everything was fenced off. River access denied. This bridge is about a mile from the border.
Our final stop of the day was in Langtry. Snugged up right along the US side of the Rio Grande, this tiny place boasts an extremely well-done Visitor Center focusing upon the legacy of Judge Roy Bean, “The Only Law West of the Pecos”.
The Center was staffed by a very friendly local lady who took some time to tell us about the Judge and Langtry’s history. We watched a short and informative video, and were given some useful promotional material about West Texas. The Judge was an interesting character according to some of the stories I heard there.
We completely chanced upon this place as we were searching for restrooms. The ones at the Visitor Center were great! A serendipitous stop along the way.
From Langtry we continued up US90 to Sanderson, where we turned onto US285, heading north to Fort Stockton. Our plans for the next two or three days were to explore Big Bend National Park, and here was the first time where we were shut out of booking a room close to our target. There simply is not very much near Big Bend, and the few properties worth staying at were booked. So, we booked a room in Fort Stockton, a 90 minute drive from the National Park.
After all of the miles to get this far, what’s another couple hundred?
Next up will be exploring Big Bend- a great National Park. Thanks for stopping by!